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Silver Rule

growup This makes me sad and furious at once. I’m torn between the idea that America has gone mad, or the idea that it was always mad and now the internet means we can see it. It makes me worried for my own Little Prince–his father is Japanese; when will someone decide he has the “wrong” skin color? More than that, though, no child deserves this.

I am hoping what we’re seeing is bigotry choking on its own last poisonous breaths. I hope that dragging it out into the light will make it shrivel and die. Unfortunately, American bigotry is a huge beast, it’ll take a long while for it to rot into compost. If there is indeed any compost in it, and it’s not just a toxic sludge with millions of years of half-life…

…Christ. History is a story of incremental progress, but the morass of blood and anguish weighing down such progress is enough to make a lone human being want to throw in the towel. That kid has sworn never to bring an invention to school again. How many times have we missed the cure for cancer or hunger because we’ve clapped someone of the “wrong color” or “wrong faith” (though it’s amazing how “faith” is only an issue as the skin gets darker, isn’t it?) in cuffs? How much art or music have we missed by treating children this way? Setting aside that almost-mercenary consideration, the fact remains that no child, ever, should be treated this way.

I want to say, “Well, it’s Texas.” I want to say, “Well, it’s an outlier.” Neither absolves America.

Other people are doing a much better job of writing about this. I have just one last thing to add, here.

My ex-husband (the Muffin) and I were talking once about ethics. We arrived at the question of the Golden Rule, and the question of bystanders. “Then there’s the Silver Rule,” he continued.

“Ah,” I said. “What’s that?”

“It’s sort of an addendum. Golden Rule: Treat others how you want to be treated, right? Well, the Silver Rule is this: DON’T treat others how you DON’T want to be treated. Both are necessary.” (There was a reason I married him, even though it didn’t quite end in the place I hoped for.)

Of course, both the Golden and Silver rules can be condensed into Wheaton’s “Don’t be a dick.” That works, too.

I wish I could say I was hopeful. Today, though, I’m furious and sickened at stupidity and bigotry, and I have precious little hope left.

Over and out.

4 thoughts on “Silver Rule

  1. It’s Irving, Texas — arguably a suburb of Dallas and/or Fort Worth, as it’s tucked in between them. I mean, this isn’t some little nothing town out in the middle of nowhere. It’s part of a diverse, urban area. I can’t even write it off as a bunch of hicks; Irving (or Dallas) police officers really should be able to distinguish between “Look! I built a clock!” and “Look! I built a fake bomb!”

  2. You’re very right. Toxic racism has become endemic, and authoritarian dick-swinging too. Someone more pithily said “it’s not just Texas, this shit happens all over.” Which is terrifying.

    And how bad is it that we can expect a place in America to act this way that it becomes the butt of many jokes about “it’s *X location*, what do you expect?”, too? Even if it was just a hick town somewhere, that wouldn’t make it any better.

  3. The silver lining I’ve taken away from Ahmed’s struggle is how the tech communities have rallied in support. The young man has apparently received an internship offer from twitter, raspberry pi has offered to send him a whole bunch of ‘dangerous looking’ electronics and such.
    I hope the support he recieves shows those who have been so misguided a better way.

  4. I hope so too. Unfortunately, it will probably only fuel their misguided persecution complexes.

    I agree about the silver lining. It’s awesome to see people come together and help.

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